Atypical feminized male’s agonistic behavior relative to males and females of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus L.)
Early maturity during tilapia culture is a recurring problem. To avoid this, a series of techniques have been developed, including the production of YY-males. This technique involves the use of hormones to produce phenotypic females (XY genotype). However, incomplete transformations are frequently observed and the produced atypical feminized males (AFM) could display an ambiguity in the phenotypic expression of behavioral patterns. The aim of this study was to measure the frequency and intensity of aggressive behavior as well as the role that initial residence plays when involving three phenotypes (males, females and AFM). The experiment consisted of three stages. Resident fish were AFM in the first stage, males in the second and females in the third. In each stage the resident fish confronted males, females and AFM acting as intruders. Aggressive behavior was exercised more frequently by resident fish. Intersexual confrontations showed higher levels of aggression compared to intrasexual confrontations. The frequency of confrontations was not significantly different in confrontations involving AFM, however, differences were observed in intensity of aggression. It is possible that an incomplete transformation at physiological level could be responsible for an inaccurate decoding of signal during confrontations.